Freeing Myself From Captivity

I have been living my life as a captive. I have done what those around me want me to do or expect of me for fear they will reject me if I choose to make my own decisions.

In high school, I changed my clothing to match the popular girl because I thought it would have the same magical affect on my own life. I chose my profession based only on recommendations my mom gave me. I used to have a huge collection of DVDs – half of which I didn’t like. I only purchased them so my house guests would think I was cool. In college, I went into thousands of dollars of debt, specifically because I wanted to have the best party house. I gave parts of me to various men with the naive hope they would reciprocate with their love and protection.

My life has been full of desperate attempts to get others to like me or to accept me into their inner circle. As a result, I have learned to manipulate my behavior to entice those around me. Last week I met with my Naturopath. During the course of our conversation, he asked how much of what I do is externally motivated. In the moment, the only area that came to mind was that of my health. I want to be physically fit and healthy for my husband, not for me. After the appointment, I continued to chew on this question. I was quickly sickened to realize that pretty much everything I do and have done has been based on external motivation! It has been done with the hope that “If I do this action, then my family will love me more. They will finally be proud of me.” “If I do what this guy wants me to do, then he won’t leave me.” “If I am there for this friend, then she will be there for me when I need it.” How gross! How twisted!

This mentality has held me captive from being the person that is the real me. It is terrifying to be 31 years old and sit here wondering, “Who is the real Alana?” I don’t even know.

My theme for 2012 is The Year of Facing My Fears. I know part of this will involve learning to be who I was created to be. I admit, I am a little excited, but mostly I am scared to crap.

BUT. I know I have to do this.

I know I can only be fully free if I allow the real me to be free.

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8 thoughts on “Freeing Myself From Captivity

  1. Alana! This is so exciting! I’ve gone through a similar process recently. If you ask him, God will teach you who he made you to be. It’s only scary initially…once you start hearing from him, it’s terrifically freeing. I can’t wait to hear more about your journey!

    • ::smile::

      Amanda, thank you for your encouraging note! It is really exciting to hear that you are going/have gone through this process and that it has been incredibly freeing for you. I have a feeling I am going to experience a lot of healing.

  2. The Tweet that lead me here instantly reminded of something from Be Here Now by Ram Das. It goes: “GEORGES I. GURDJIEFF,
    A WESTERNER WHO WENT ON THIS HIGHER TRIP
    OR AT LEAST ON A LARGE PART OF THE TRIP, SAID:
    YOU DON’T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND
    YOU ARE IN PRISON
    IF YOU ARE TO GET OUT OF PRISON
    THE FIRST THING YOU MUST REALIZE IS:
    YOU ARE IN PRISON
    IF YOU THINK
    YOU’RE FREE YOU CAN’T ESCAPE.”
    I get the impression you’ve had that realization. So what is next on the path? What else do you do that is internally motivated and how can you cultivate that? While I’m not even sure what your profession is (or why you’ve sought out a Naturopath) I’m definitely curious to see how you move through this space. Thanks so much for sharing. Also, don’t be scared to crap, it’s quite freeing = )
    Still learning myself,
    -Nicholas

    • Nicholas, I am excited you have come by twice in the past couple weeks! 🙂 I looked up this video. I did not get to watch the whole thing yet, but plan to check it out fully. I do agree – that if we do not realize we are in prison, we cannot get out. You know, it’s interesting. I had the realization a few days ago about the fact that most of my decisions are guided by others. Since then, when I need to make a decision, I have acutely aware of the anxiety that rises up in me. On top of this, I am aware of the specific thought, “I need to talk to somebody about this. I can’t make this decision on my own.” The ridiculous part is that these are not big decisions but I have allowed myself to believe that I cannot make good decisions on my own. The decisions have ranged from “What paint color should I select for this client’s office?” (I am currently a commercial interior designer) to “Should I call my mom to ask if we can switch the date to celebrate birthdays?” Wow. I have been driven by the fear of not wanting to fail and ultimately, not wanting to be rejected.

      As a result of this self-awareness, I am realizing as I make decisions that I am capable of making good decisions! This realization is building my confidence both in my career as well as in my relationships with others.

      To answer your question – “What do you do that is internally motivated?” Right now, the main two things are this: 1). I am a continuous learner – especially when it comes to self-development. As much as it can suck, I enjoy digging into myself to find out why I believe what I do and especially why I act out the way I do (this is based on my personality and past wounds/experiences). 2). I am consulting with a career coaching client and realizing how much I enjoy this process of walking another person through the inward-journey.

      I love your thoughts and questions, Nicholas! 🙂

  3. Thanks for inviting us to journey with you, Alana. You have so much to offer the world.

    And remember, often our greatest adversity turns into our greatest asset. I have the feeling that is what’s going to happen for you.

    • Kent, I have a note card sitting in my office right now that says,

      “Your own healing is the greatest message of hope for others.”

      I believe this is right on par with your comment that “often our greatest adversity turns into our greatest asset.” I am greatly encouraged by others who have gone through similar trials and have come out healed and rejuvenated on the other end. I am not thrilled about conflict and adversity, however I’m beginning to welcome it because I’ve realized how much stronger of a person it is transforming me into.

  4. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Dr. Christiane Northrup (http://www.drnorthrup.com/). When it comes to diving into the way you think and how it effects your overall mind, body and soul, this book and something I recommend for every female to read. Another book that really changed my Mom’s life was “When Pleasing Others is Hurting You” by Dr. David Hawkins (http://www.amazon.com/When-Pleasing-Others-Hurting-Relationships/dp/0736912320). Lastly, I think you’ve already read this, but “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I think these books would be wonderful for this year of facing your fears – face your fear and your fear disappears, right? 🙂

    • Ashley, WOW! Thank you for the book recommendations! I am eating up all the books that I can right now and these sound like they are exactly in tune with what I need to learn myself and what I greatly desire for my clients to learn!! Sweet. I will definitely check these out!

      And yes, I am familiar with The Artist’s Way. I have gone through most of the book once, and have taken a few of the exercises from it and incorporated them into my training. I quote the book often. 🙂

      Thanks again for your tips!

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